2002 Toyota RAV4 Review

Pros & Cons

  • Steers and handles like a car, thoughtful cabin design, well-built interior.
  • No V6 engine option, noisy, most desirable equipment is optional.
List Price Range
$3,250 - $5,249

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Edmunds' Expert Review

A solid and pleasing package, if a tad bit small.

Vehicle overview

Back in 1996, the term "cute-ute" was coined when Toyota released the RAV4, an acronym for Recreational Activity Vehicle with 4WD. While Suzuki had been plying these waters for years with the Sidekick (and its Chevy Tracker twin), it wasn't until the car-based RAV hit the market that small SUVs became popular.

The latest RAV4 was redesigned just last year. Available as a five-door wagon only, it has a refined new look thanks to sharply upswept headlights and crisp lines that stretch the length of the vehicle. Squint hard enough, and Toyota's new mini-ute could even pass for a poor man's BMW X5, sans the neck-snapping V8, of course.

Powering the RAV4 is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that delivers 148 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 142 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm, a significant improvement over its predecessor, but still far below the 200 horsepower offered in the Ford Escape and Mazda Tribute. Buyers can choose between a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic transmission driving the front or all wheels.

Standard equipment is sparse, with most of the good stuff like antilock brakes, aluminum wheels, air conditioning, remote keyless entry and a power sunroof optional. An option package bundles power windows, doors and locks with air conditioning, cruise control and a six-speaker sound system with both cassette and CD players. Upgrade to the "L" package and you get these goodies plus heated exterior mirrors, floor mats, dark tinted glass, foglights and special exterior trim. The "L" package is also your ticket to leather upholstery. A limited-slip differential is a stand-alone option on 4WD versions.

Even with 4WD, the RAV4 isn't meant for serious off-road excursions. Where the RAV4 really shines is on the pavement, where its taut suspension, quick steering, and tight turning radius come together to produce one of the best-handling SUVs we've ever driven. Minimal body lean and sticky street tires combined with the traction of 4WD provide reassuring handling in almost all situations.

The passenger cabin is another area where the redesigned RAV scores points. Simple and straightforward climate controls are a snap to use, and the radio is placed nice and high for quick access. Other thoughtful design elements include adjustable cupholders and well-placed storage bins. There's plenty of room for four passengers, but throw in a fifth and things get a little tight.

Toyota rarely skimps when it comes to safety features, and the RAV4 is no exception. Dual front airbags are standard along with ALR/ELR seatbelts with pre-tensioners and force-limiters. Side airbags aren't available, but the RAV4 has faired well in government crash tests. One item of note is the RAV4's lack of a rear bumper. Low-speed crashes that damage the rear of the vehicle can lead to extremely high repair costs.

Overall, we find Toyota's latest RAV4 to be a fun-to-drive sport-utility that makes a terrific urban runabout. The smooth-revving engine can be noisy, but it returns high fuel mileage, and the precise suspension tuning transmits a confident feeling of control at all times. If these are traits that appeal to you, by all means, give the RAV4 serious consideration.

2002 Highlights

Toyota's mini-SUV receives just a couple cosmetic changes this year. Models ordered with the Quick Order package now have gray-painted bumpers and overfenders, and Toyota has added color-keyed bumpers and overfenders to the "L" package. There are also three new L package colors: Rainforest Pearl, Spectra Blue Mica and Pearl White (Natural White and Vintage Gold have been discontinued).

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2002 Toyota RAV4.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

2001 RAV4 AWD Automatic
Blondebear1,02/16/2002
I have gotten 25 mpg consistently with my RAV4 using synthetic motor, transfer case and differential oils. Acceleration is adequate for me. Do not listen to the automotive review writers when they tell you this car is underpowered. I can easily go 90 mph. I love the easily removable rear seats and the large cargo area removing them provides. I don't bump my head when entering. Good storage in the dash for stuff. Antilock brakes work great.
Love This Car
Maricruz,10/23/2015
2WD 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl 4A)
I bought my 2002 RAV4 at 106k miles. It is now at 118k and it runs as good as a new car. It is so comfortable and so reliable. Ive only had to do the basic maintenance which include oil change and brake change. It is so great on gas. It looks newer than a 2002. The paint and parts are all original and it rides so smooth. My only complain is the spare tire cover, unfortunately it is too difficult to remove. Other than that everything about this truck is great.
I love my Rav4!
kate66,01/27/2014
I bought my Rav4 used in 2006 with 34,000 miles. I have had absolutely no problems with it beyond normal maintenance. I have made multiple cross-country trips in it and have found it to be very comfortable even on long car rides. People can not believe how old my car is when they look at it. It still has its original paint, and people think it's brand new. I love the way it drive. It has a lot of road noise, but I knew that going into it. At 90,600, it's still going strong. I think I am one of the only people I know who not only loves my car but actually doesn't want a new one.
Brooklyn Rav 4
Gary,08/05/2016
2WD 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl 4A)
I love my 2002 Rav4, HAVE 159k miles. Had the tranny ECM issue a few years back, Toyota replaced ECM for free(car had less than 100k miles ansd was less than 10 years old at that time. Replaced from struts and got spring strut assembly(about $300 TOTAL) took about 1 hour to swap out on lift. I plan to keep Rav another2-4 years and see no problem getting over 200k miles. I wish Toyota made washing machines...I would buy them , indestructible. At 200k miles hadf to put on new exhaust(got my money worth, from original, one AND RADIO DIED, NEED TO PUT IN REPLACEMENT RADIO. Car still runs and drives great!!

Features & Specs

MPG
20 city / 25 hwy
Seats 5
4-speed automatic
Gas
148 hp @ 6000 rpm
MPG
21 city / 26 hwy
Seats 5
4-speed automatic
Gas
148 hp @ 6000 rpm
MPG
22 city / 28 hwy
Seats 5
5-speed manual
Gas
148 hp @ 6000 rpm
MPG
20 city / 25 hwy
Seats 5
5-speed manual
Gas
148 hp @ 6000 rpm
See all Used 2002 Toyota RAV4 features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover3 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Acceptable

More about the 2002 Toyota RAV4

Used 2002 Toyota RAV4 Overview

The Used 2002 Toyota RAV4 is offered in the following submodels: RAV4 SUV. Available styles include 4WD 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl 4A), 2WD 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl 4A), 2WD 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl 5M), and 4WD 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl 5M).

What's a good price on a Used 2002 Toyota RAV4?

Price comparisons for Used 2002 Toyota RAV4 trim styles:

  • The Used 2002 Toyota RAV4 Base is priced between $3,250 and$5,249 with odometer readings between 134104 and203902 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2002 Toyota RAV4s are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2002 Toyota RAV4 for sale near. There are currently 3 used and CPO 2002 RAV4s listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $3,250 and mileage as low as 134104 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2002 Toyota RAV4.

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Find a used Toyota RAV4 for sale - 6 great deals out of 7 listings starting at $17,071.

Find a used Toyota for sale - 2 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $8,410.

Find a used certified pre-owned Toyota RAV4 for sale - 6 great deals out of 12 listings starting at $18,311.

Find a used certified pre-owned Toyota for sale - 10 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $18,923.

Should I lease or buy a 2002 Toyota RAV4?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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